Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 103, Cavs 102

  • The Hawks played hard after a lackluster start (especially Josh Smith) and Joe Johnson made some big shots. Jerry Stackhouse (!) balled like it’s 2001. The Hawks won, which can never be taken for granted in this league.
  • But, honestly, that’s about all the praise I can muster for them after this one.
  • The Hawks just made fewer blunders than the Cavs at winning time and escaped with a hard-fought-but-fortunate W. “I thought we were dead in the water down six with two minutes to go,” Larry Drew said. “I guess the basketball gods were with us. We made plays to finish.”
  • I guess that’s one way to think about it, but one of the basketball gods had a strong resemblance to Byron Scott. He decided not to foul before Joe tied it with a clean look from 25 feet in regulation. “We figured we would just play solid defense instead of taking the foul,” Scott said.
  • Neither did the Cavs pressure, blitz, deny, trap or do anything to disrupt Joe on that shot, the 3 he made just before that or the short J he made near the end of overtime. Compare that to the way the Celtics absolutely would not let Joe have a chance to beat them late in the game Monday.
  • I just can’t believe the Cavs didn’t do something, anything to prevent Joe from getting clean looks with the game on the line and neither could Joe: “I really was surprised that I caught it and turned and I was that wide open. All I could think about was getting it up.”
  • Joe needed one screen to get in position for the game winner. Antawn Jamison appeared to consider helping when Joe got closer to the basket but then decided it was best to let him take an uncontested 12-footer. “We gave them the game,” Scott said, and at least he included himself.
  • Before all of that Drew had tried to one-up (one-down?) Scott by choosing not to to foul with the Cavs up 89-88 and about a three-second differential between the game and shot clocks. Kyrie Irving blew by Kirk Hinrich for a layup to score with 5.4 seconds to go and actually could have ran off even more time and left the Hawks with maybe a second or so.
  • “I thought about [fouling],” Drew said. “But I made the decision to go ahead and defend. I didn’t think they take a shot at the expiration of the shot clock. I thought we would get another opportunity.”
  • Zaza Pachulia blew another important layup and this time he was even more wide open than he was at Denver. Zaza had a good game otherwise and is having a career season but finishing at the rim remains the big hole in his game. Sometimes he looks like he’d rather be fouled.
  • Drew: “I told him, ‘Big fella, I’m going to continue to come to you and I have all the confidence in the world in you. You’ve blundered a couple but it doesn’t change the way I feel about you.”
  • Bad: Joe needed 19 shots for 22 points. Good: He made big shots, made five of six free-throw attempts and had six rebounds, five assists against zero turnovers and two (!) blocked shots.
  • Josh settled for Js late but I’m inclined to cut him slack. He had little help on the boards (13 of Atlanta’s 26 defensive rebounds, four of its 11 offensive), was alone as usual defending the rim and nobody else was really making shots until Joe did so late in the game.
  • Josh and some people around him think he takes too much flak from hometown fans. I don’t think that’s always true but it would be in this case if the focus is on his missed Js after had had nearly half his team’s rebounds, more than half of its free throws and played 51 minutes. “I’m tired as a mother[bleeper],” he offered before hitting the showers.
  • Once again the Hawks faced a bad team and, instead of smothering them with defense, went ahead and tried to trade baskets. At least the Nuggets are a good offensive team. There’s little excuse for the way the Cavs came out scoring so easily. “We didn’t come to play in the first quarter and it gave them confidence,” Drew said. “We offered no defensive resistance. They scored at will.”
  • The Hawks picked it up in the second quarter by getting steals and running. Josh started it off with eight straight points on drives or free throws and then Stackhouse (!) kept it going with a flurry of steals, passes, and 3-pointers.
  • The Hawks had a game by then, though. A (rare) good start to the third quarter wasn’t enough to shake the Cavs, and Irving had a lot to do with that.
  • Irving’s talent + Jeff Teague’s typically blase pick-and-roll D + Kirk Hinrich’s declining footspeed=problems for the Hawks.
  • At least Teague had 12 points (6 of 9 FG), seven assists, four steals and just one turnover. Hinrich was 4 of 13 from the field with a couple short misses.
  • Willie Green returned after missing 10 games with back and hamstring injuries. He played 15 minutes. “It felt OK, not great,” he said. “It’s just about continuing to monitor it and hope it continues to get better. I want to continue to get in rhythm.”
  • Drew said Ivan Johnson will return to play against the Nets Friday and Marvin Williams could return: “We hope to get some bodies back.”

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

392 comments Add your comment

High-sider

March 21st, 2012
11:45 pm

High-sider

March 21st, 2012
11:45 pm

High-sider

March 21st, 2012
11:45 pm

High-sider

March 21st, 2012
11:47 pm

This was a much needed win to stay ahead of the Celtics, Knicks and Bucks in the Eastern Conference standings.

City Of Atlanta Still Recovering From William Tecumseh Sherman

March 21st, 2012
11:48 pm

teague cant shoot or defend…hawks still in need of a point guard

Najeh Davenpoop

March 21st, 2012
11:49 pm

“I thought about [fouling],” Drew said. “But I made the decision to go ahead and defend. I didn’t think they take a shot at the expiration of the shot clock. I thought we would get another opportunity.”

Dumb.

Najeh Davenpoop

March 21st, 2012
11:51 pm

Teague’s pick and roll D has gotten better. First couple of months it was abysmal. Now it is average. He still has a lot of room to improve but he doesn’t get stuck on picks nearly as much now as he used to early on.

I thought he actually did a decent job on Irving until the 4th. Late in the 3rd I checked the stats and Irving was 3/8 with 8 points (he did have 8 dimes and 6 boards at the time, so still not a bad game for him). Irving is going to be great, though.

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

March 21st, 2012
11:51 pm

FIRE LD

FIRE WOODY

FIRE SUND

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

March 21st, 2012
11:54 pm

High-sider

March 21st, 2012
11:56 pm

“Both teams played hard. Both teams played hard. Both teams played hard. Both teams played hard. Both teams played hard. God bless. Goodnight.” – Rasheed Wallace

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

March 21st, 2012
11:57 pm

I’m still getting lots of inquiries on Twitter about the Hawks signing one of the free agents who’ve been released. Atlanta’s roster is full, so they would have to waive a player (and eat the salary) or buy out a player (no candidates for that) to open up a spot for the new guy. Either move would add to the team’s payroll and luxury-tax bill. In other words, it’s not happening.
***

ASG said they would go into LT for right player. I have not seen this happen.

Pretty sure Hollins or Hickson are better than half the garbage on our bench

Rusty

March 21st, 2012
11:57 pm

City of Atlanta JT is the best pg we have had here in a long time.

Buddy Grizzard

March 22nd, 2012
12:06 am

“ASG said they would go into LT for right player. I have not seen this happen.”

GrandMaster JeJe… didn’t you hear? The Hawks are ALREADY in the luxury tax. The right player was Jerry Stackhouse.

Rev in Tampa

March 22nd, 2012
12:06 am

I’m curious. Can anyone tell me about that section in Phillips where those people have those giant-sized heads of Zaza? It looks like they are having quite a good time and they are always there.

Slimjr

March 22nd, 2012
12:08 am

Good win Hawks! Got to keep pace with those Knicks!

FYI , Knicks will be in town next weekend..Its gonna be crazy!

Slimjr

March 22nd, 2012
12:12 am

Friday Night the 30th! Woodys coming back with guns ablazin! Better duck, cover and roll! hehehe

Slimjr

March 22nd, 2012
12:13 am

I wonder if he’ll give Larry the middle finger….hehehe

doc

March 22nd, 2012
12:15 am

well some coach screwed it up more than ld. thank you basketball god. rook coach mistakes by both headcoaches. we got lucky this time as unlucky as some losses by poor ld decisions at end if games have been over the year.

jlewis

March 22nd, 2012
12:15 am

Numbers arent everything…Teague didnt push the ball, made bad decisions and Irvin spun him like a top. Oh, I forgot to mention scared to shoot. Josh played hard, althought it took him 29 shots to get 30 points, but I’ve gained more respect for Josh’s game, he is smart enough to know where to get the ball to late in games.

It was a tough game for the Hawks, but there are no bodies and McGrady seems useless. JJ played 51 at Denver and made some late turnovers, I didnt read were MC cut him any slack.

doc

March 22nd, 2012
12:17 am

yes rev always there. best act for them us kryptnite green when superman howard comes to the phil.

Slimjr

March 22nd, 2012
12:17 am

“well some coach screwed it up more than ld.”

well they say even a blind squirrel will luck out and stumble accross a nut from time to time..lol

doc

March 22nd, 2012
12:19 am

and dampier buddy.

ali

March 22nd, 2012
12:21 am

If tmac cant beatout scrubs like Green and stackhouse just retier after this season.

SWAT Native

March 22nd, 2012
12:22 am

@ Rec, that’s some kind of spirit section – I think they get to come to the games for free. They chant and sing all game long, like they’re at a World Cup soccer game. I talked to a couple of them at one game and most of them seem to be Europeans. I asked one guy how he got to be a part of that section and he told me “I just scream real loud, that’s all I know”.

doc

March 22nd, 2012
12:23 am

as a pitcher in college that is exactly what my coach said to me when i doubled off the fence slimj. i really batted .500 as i was two for four, two hits in four years. it was before designated hitters. i could really lay down a sac bunt though, took a lot of pride in doing the little things to win you know? :-)

hawkfan

March 22nd, 2012
12:39 am

haha I like how Sportscenter just changed their title headline from “Josh Smith is Clutch” to “Josh Smith is Love-Like” wow they didn’t want to put clutch and josh in the same line

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

March 22nd, 2012
12:39 am

Buddy Grizzard

March 22nd, 2012
12:45 am

“and dampier buddy.” – doc

And Donald Sloan… remember, if the Hawks hadn’t started off the season carrying the roster maximum, it could have stayed below the tax line and even had money to add a guy. I’m not complaining about Stackhouse… I think he’s been a steadying influence in the locker room, in contrast to McGrady. He has future coaching aspirations and has probably been the best help LD could ask for as far as keeping people’s minds right.

Mikey

March 22nd, 2012
12:56 am

Mikey

March 22nd, 2012
12:58 am

2012-2013 Hawks:

Pachulia
Smith
Johnson
Beal
Teague

Head Coach: Jerry Sloan or Nate McMillan

Rusty

March 22nd, 2012
12:59 am

I noticed at one of the timeouts LD was nose to nose with JT screaming at him. LT makes woody look good. I think woody has become much smarter while being an assistant to Antonio.

hawkfan

March 22nd, 2012
1:01 am

oh and on this whole jersey retiring thing, does this mean that Joe Johnson will get his jersey retired in atl when he stays here most of his career due to his big contract?

hawkfan

March 22nd, 2012
1:01 am

and since he is the 6-time all star

tyger

March 22nd, 2012
1:36 am

Struggling with the Cavs????, …really??

There’s a reason you play the Cavs and Generals twice…
It’s so you can get easy wins…after tough trips…
But it’s the Hawks – win two, lose one…

Well next week, will put them squarely behind the 8ball…
UTA, MIL, NYK, PHI, CHI – Bobkittins twice…
DET, BOS, ORL, LAC, BOS, TOR, DAL – unless significant change…

it could get real ugly real quick…go 4-8…
…while NYK, MIL roll off 7-8 in a row…

prison mike

March 22nd, 2012
1:56 am

Teague is getting extremely laxed playing defense. Letting his counterparts leak into the paint because a safety net like Smoove is good at defending the rim is a bad habit.

Josh will most likely be gone within two years. If a deal presents itself to improve our pg position, we shouldn’t hesitate if it involves Teague. Marvin once upon a time had decent trade value and witness what happens when you are content with mediocrity.

hawkville

March 22nd, 2012
2:04 am

Hawks Fan Down Under

March 22nd, 2012
2:30 am

Zaza did blow another lay up but the guy is playing well. Rebounding lots and scoring well. If he can fix his butter fingers he’d be a really strong C.

Big Daddy

March 22nd, 2012
5:23 am

Didn’t get to see the game but glad we won. MC does not seem impressed by the win. True,we should not have struggled with the Cavs at home. but I wll take the win. I hope we are up for the Nets, another team we should beat. Josh and Joe did seem to have good games according to the stats. 32pts, 17 rebs, 5 ast and only 1 TO for Smoove and 22 pts, 6 rebs, 5 ast, 2 st and 2 blks for joe. GO HAWKS!!!!

northcyde

March 22nd, 2012
6:16 am

Funny how no one has mentioned that it was an ISO play that produced the game winner.

Good night for me. The Hawks win, and Kyrie Irving balled his arse off for Northcyde United. God knows we may need more performances like that the rest of the week.

vava74

March 22nd, 2012
7:17 am

I think that Josh and JJ may be starting to jell a bit and mutually trusting each other.

Josh’s statements seem to indicate that he understands that JJ is the man for at least a large chunk of the money shots and JJ’s recent game play (and some of his usual cryptic/laconic statements) seems to indicate that he understands that Josh is the Hawks motor and that the motor has to be fed in order for him to benefit as well.

You can see a lot of passes from one to the other for buckets with JJ working more as a catch and shoot guy off the ball rotation – as he should – and Josh getting entry passes down low early in the shot clock (albeit this is still working at optimal levels only against lesser opposition, although its a start).

For me, this is a clear sign also that JJ SHOULD NOT be removed from the SF slot.

On Teague:

I don’t understand all the criticism: he is basically a rookie whose confidence has been hammered by two solid years of bench and untimely yanking at the first mistake.

Our defense this year has been solid – to say the least – and one of the main guys making this happening is Teague (we are 5th on opposing PPG at 92.02).

His confidence goes up and down and the reports are that LD is constantly harping at him in a fashion that does not seem to be conductive to success, so we see a few games in which he seems either lost or coasting a bit.

Irving will be a major star in this league – he is already heaps and bounds better than Wall – and has a very fluid and crafty game (both outside and inside), so it’s no wonder that he was able to put up those numbers BUT…

Irving also had 7 turnovers and you can certainly give Teague some merit on that.

Also, that last shot by Irving met strong opposition by Teague forcing him to try a very high banking angle that did not drop.

IMO, at least 85% of the starting PGs in this league would not have been able to stick with Irving on that one and put a hand on his face like Teague did.

vava74

March 22nd, 2012
7:25 am

northcyde
March 22nd, 2012
6:16 am:

“Funny how no one has mentioned that it was an ISO play that produced the game winner.”

Yes northcyde, but all the other money shots JJ had down stretch were CATCH AND SHOOT.

There nothing wrong with JJ going ISO here and there if he has made defenses pay dearly on catch and shoot situations previously.

The problem is that, like in Woody’s days, LD has been going ISO-Joe almost exclusively to close games and “control leads” and that makes it predictable and easy to defend AND takes the fire out of the rest of the guys (most notably Josh).

When JJ gets it going on catch and shoot, defenses forcefully have to act differently trying to keep close to all Hawks players on offense since baskets come out of ball rotation and you can’t leave anyone open because once the ball goes to the open man, defenses start to rotate and the probability that a switch, a pick or simply a crisp sequence of passes leaves JJ alone for a “3 point lay up” increase dramatically.

That simply does not happen when everyone makes clear out after clear out for JJ to try and beat faster opponents as if he was still 25 years old, in particular after a 35 minute outing on tired legs and on a tendinitis’ afflicted knee.

vava74

March 22nd, 2012
7:29 am

JJ’s numbers during March:

G8 GS8 mpg38.4 FG% 0.511 3pt% 0.540 FT% 0.895 Oreb0.8 Dreb3.0 Rpg3.8 Apg4.2 Stl1.6 TO3.0 Blk0.2 PPG 25.1

The only subpar numbers are rebounding (he should average 2 rpg more) and turnovers but the rest of the numbers are Player of the Month worthy

doc

March 22nd, 2012
7:40 am

northcyde i hope you were referring to the basketball god there. heh heh

jj is and has been a sf for a long time dating back to the woody years when he was put alongside first bibby and flip then bibby and jc. this is not a novelty and the move should have been recognized and made a long time ago, before they paid marvin 7-8 mil a year to do 3-4 mil workload even before the injuries. myopic sund/basg moves cost us plenty.

iso jj should be the exception rather than the rule when it favors jj in match ups o/w business as usual, play it into josh preferably and feed it back as he is clearly the more decisive player on the court not teague or jj when it comes to directing the offense. jj should spend less time with the ball and only if he is gong to abuse a mis-match which he should have done recently at the end of a game rather than pass it out and then take it back to a corner fall away when he had a match up in his favor.

Section 303

March 22nd, 2012
7:41 am

Hinrich sucks.

doc

March 22nd, 2012
7:50 am

teague is not the problem with this team, unless it is not being encouraged enough to be more aggressive and to put up bigger numbers when things get slack, folks start coasting or just plain stagnant with no ball movement or taking a string of long shots from the outside instead of movement towards the basket. he should be encouraged to take risks and develop more passing under the basket as drop offs to team mates. he does seem lost at times and it seems to be more a product of confusion as to expectations. this comes about in a negative environment and what you get from negativity in general; diminished energy and no movement at all. it is like the shocked rat in cage that cant get out. that is pure basic behavioral psych 101.

Kerry

March 22nd, 2012
7:56 am

Great Win Hawks, that was a close one, Josh and Joe really stepped it up, Keep up the good work, Looking forward to going to the playoffs!

Dawg

March 22nd, 2012
8:32 am

If LD was more secure, he would actually coach other players instead of always whipping on Teague.
Hey LD, there are bone headed plays all over the court, be a coach to Josh, Joe and others.

Have you ever said, “Hey Joe, don’t bounce the ball around for 23 seconds and then pass to Josh”?

rollow lawson

March 22nd, 2012
8:59 am

Joe played his butt off down the stretch. Larry Drew needs to learn that when Joe is hot, keep running plays that will get him in his sweet spot. People complain about Josh shooting long jumpers and three pointers. I noticed on at least three occassions where Heinrich and Teague passed up good shots and rotated the ball to Josh for long jumpers. Our guards need to be smarter with the ball and take the shot, especially Teague. He looks timid too many times. I now see why Drew is constantly on his tail.

And why is Jason Collins still on the roster. Erick Dampier is definitely better than him.

STRETCH THIS YO

March 22nd, 2012
9:05 am

Hawks never play defense. Its like AND1 games every game. All offense and no defense.

STRETCH THIS YO

March 22nd, 2012
9:06 am

Mc : “One of those gods resembled Byron Scott”.

Nice one MC ! LMAO.